Located in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda (Chùa Vĩnh Nghiêm) is one of the most Vietnam’s popular destination for locals and foreign visitors. The pagoda is famous for its modern style but traditional structure.
Vinh Nghiem Pagoda
Location: 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Ward 14, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; about 5 km from Bui Vien Back Packer Area, nearly 2.5 km from Notre Dame Cathedral, 4.5 km from Nguyen Hue Walking Street.
Opening hours: 8:00 – 18:00.
How to get to Vinh Nghiem Pagoda?
Getting here is quite easy and convenient because this attraction is a few kilometers from the city center and very famous amongst local people. Taxi costs around 15,000 VND/km and bus ticket costs 5,000 – 20,000 VND in Ho Chi Minh. Check out Ho Chi Minh City Bus Guide and Ho Chi Minh Taxi Guide.
7-story tower in Vinh Nghiem Pagoda
The big statue of Quan Yin in the spaceful garden of the pagoda. Lines of colorful lanterns make the pagoda beautiful.
The gate of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda
Modern style and traditional structure of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda
Thanks to being a quite recent monument, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda inherits both a modern touch of Japanese architectural style and inspiration from traditional Vietnamese structure, which makes its beauty strong, stable and also majestic. It was the first pagoda in Vietnam with Vietnamese traditional architectural style but built with concrete. As a result, the pagoda is the symbol for the peaceful combination of modern and ancient elements.
Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is home to a vast sanctuary where followers pay their respects, make offerings and pray for blessings every month. A 40m high seven-story tower, called Kwan-Yin, was built with the assistance of the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Association. This structure is the biggest one among Vietnam Buddhist Association. People usually pay homage to Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha himself, and Samantabhadra, the Lord of Truth and Manjusri there.
What to do at the Pagoda?
If you want to come to a pagoda, see the architecture and calm yourself, this pagoda is a great choice. My favorite activity is waiting in the long line to ring the pagoda’s large bell. The line snakes all around the front of the main hall, so expect to wait several minutes, but when you finally get to the end you can swing the large piece of wood, which is tied to the top by rope, and ring that bell yourself. It’s a good-sized bell too, about two meters tall, and it rings rather well. So well that I’m glad I do not live next door because this goes on all night.
One of the best reasons to visit Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is to witness one of the many celebrations. The large area becomes packed with people on important days. And you can follow the crowd to partake in the activities. You can also enjoy some Vietnamese vegetarian foods which can help your body detoxify at the pagoda.
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When to visit the Pagoda?
The large bowls of incense grow into large glowing red piles of smoldering ash, the main hall fills with people praying to Buddha, and the street outside the gate turns into a mini market with vendors selling bushels of incense sticks. They hold many big events at the pagoda and it is a big chance to learn more about the culture and religion. You can come to the pagoda on 1st, 5th, and 15th of each lunar month, any Buddhist holiday, especially Lunar New Year.
On special occasions, the pagoda is crowded with people visiting to pray for luck, happiness, and safety to themselves and their families. Also, tourists coming at these times may observe traditional Buddhism activities such as giving away lucky-money as good buds for the start of a new year. However, for visitors who want to enjoy the inner peace of a Buddhist pagoda, stay away from these occasions. On normal days, the pagoda is more spacious, peaceful, and quieter. Do not miss visiting Vinh Nghiem Pagoda on your trip to Ho Chi Minh City. I think you probably like this place too much and then understand more about Buddhism as well as Vietnam’s culture.
Where to eat when visiting the Pagoda?
There is a vegetarian restaurant in the area of the pagoda. It opens from 7:00 to 21:00 and serves lots of delicious Vietnamese vegetarian foods. Prices range from 50:000 to 150,000 VND.
Vinh Nghiem Vegetarian Restaurant (Nha Hang Chay Vinh Nghiem)
Fried rice with vegetables served at Vinh Nghiem vegetarian restaurant
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